BBC Four presents “Orson Welles Over Europe” a new documentary hosted by Simon Callow on December 27
England's BBC Four has launched it's celebration of Orson Welles this holiday season by showing episodes from the 1955 BBC program Orson Welles Sketchbook.
Although only viewers in the UK will be able to see the 15-minute episodes, here is a link to Wellesnet's written transcripts of the shows, as recorded by Jeff Wilson, as well as audio versions of the shows hosted by The Museum of Orson Welles. Antony in Dublin tells me that the first Sketchbook shown on December 18 was indeed the rare episode that is missing from our transcription and audio files. Terry's report from the message board states, "Welles talks about props, a fortuitous and apocryphal Californian earthquake, his audition at the Gate Theatre and subsequent premiere (with sketches of the characters he played,) the malevolent pranks of Opening Night gremlins, and the revelation that he began his professional career by falling on his head."
Another highlight of the BBC Four series will no doubt be the debut of a new documentary Orson Welles Over Europe hosted and written by Welles biographer Simon Callow. The hour long show will concentrate on Welles career in Europe after he left Hollywood in 1948 and went to Italy to make Black Magic for producer Edward Small. This was famously followed by the frenetic off-and-on again shooting of Othello which went on across many countries in Europe and Africa for several years, before the film was finally completed and shown at the the 1952 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Grand Prize.
Orson Welles Over Europe is directed by Hans Petch and produced by Alan Campbell, assisted by Lesley Smith-Glasgow. It will debut on the BBC Four in the UK on December 27 at 9:30 pm.
Leslie Megahey's wonderful Arena documentary The Orson Welles Story will also be shown in two installments on BBC Four, but it appears this will be the 165 minute version, rather than the more complete 210 minute version.
John Hodson quotes Leslie Magahey talking about interviewing Welles in Las Vegas at The Film Journal, and has a complete rundown the the BBC schedule of Welles films.
Ambrose Heron at Film Detail also provides a round up of the five Welles films that will be shown, including video and trailers from Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Journey Into Fear and The Third Man.